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Showing posts from April, 2018

Spragg (Monsterbus p.664)

Just a quick review: I only have 5 minutes. After the last post (the origin of Marvel) the Spragg story is a good opportunity to stand back and see what Kirby was doing with these monster stories.

Kirby said in interviews that he enjoyed thinking up strange new dangers, and then thinking up how to defeat them. This is an exercise in intelligence: what might go wrong, at an abstract level, and how could one person then then solve it? All simplified for children, and made symbolic through monsters. It is also a prophetic message: be prepared for all possible futures! Is this what we are causing through out thoughtless actions? (see my previous comments on the Internet as a monster that might enslave and replace us)

Spragg is a brilliant concept: if life evolved in a gas cloud, or in liquid magma, then it would make far greater use of electromagnetic fields. That is, what we call brain waves, or with more energy, magnetic or electrostatic repulsion. Such a creature would not need arms or…

The lost origins of Marvel

We are now at 1961 in the Monsterbus. This is when Kirby created "Marvel Comics" as we now know them. I will blog about each detail when I cover each issue, but here is a quick overview. If this seems one sided, or overly critical of Kirby's editor, I refer the reader to my book, The Case For Kirby.
Timeline The exact dates don't matter except as a memory aid, an easy way to remember the stories and how they were changed. If any reader can prove beyond doubt that the dates and events should be different then I will happily update the blog. But this is really about the stories.
1960: planning We have seen in the Monsterbus how Kirby was trying longer stories, and characters who would be suitable for serial adventures.
Early 1961: all the major charactersIn early 1961 Kirby went to Goodman with an armful of presentations. This included; the FF, Spider-Man, the Hulk, the X-Men, Ant Man, Iron Man, Sgt. Fury, Thor, and perhaps other characters. Kirby had been prepping the…

Googam (Monsterbus p.638)

It looks like the Lee told Kirby to "bring back Goom" or in this case "the son on Goom". Then at the end Lee asked the readers if they wanted Googam to come back yet again (spoiler: they didn't). I don't know why Lee liked the character, but Goom was not a great character for continued stories, and Kirby evidently knew it. This is the kind of story you write when you don't want to write a story. On to the next one.

Magneto (Monsterbus p.624)

This is Kirby's version of "Of Mice And Men". Except Kirby's Lenny is more like the real Lenny would be: no friend to look after him, and he lashes out more savagely. And it is his own (not George's) best laid plans (of mice and men) that give him hope, and ultimately come to nothing. Note the symbolism of magnetism: Hunk could not attract anyone to him, he was always alone.

This is a thought provoking tale that stays with you. Because it is two opposite stories in one. The first is troubling, the second heart breaking.
The surface story   On the surface it's a story of goodness and decency. Hunk wants to help a random stranger. And although he is taken advantage of, the authorities are decent and good, showing that the mass of men are also decent and good. Not only do they understand and forgive his problem (it was not his fault really), but they give him the greatest gift a man could ever have: a rocket to the stars, that will let him try planet after plane…